The Green Hand
I love Halloween. I love it to the point that my family has threatened intervention. Two years ago there was a spouse mandated moratorium placed on buying anything related to Halloween. I found a way around the rule by purchasing some purple stuff that I claimed could be used for Mardi Gras and therefore, did not technically break the rule. Right? We decorate our house, inside and out every year. We throw a huge Halloween party. I’ve also
allowed encouraged my small one to dress in many a morbid costume. Here she is in her Little Dead Riding Hood costume. I really love Halloween.
I have loved Halloween for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it was ingrained in my psyche by my parents’ adoration of the spooky. Our house was always decorated for Halloween, black cats and jack-o-lanterns adorned our yard. Back in the day, before you could buy bags of that spiderweb stuff at Walmart for 97 cents, my mom would use spun fiberglass, also known as Angel Hair, to make webs on our porch. Angel Hair is off the market now because it’s a health hazard. Truly spooky, I probably inhaled 4 pounds of that stuff a year as a kid. We were the only house on our block with a black light AND a strobe light. I’m not sure why, it was the 70s and you would think that everyone had a black light and a strobe or at least a disco ball. My Dad always rigged our stereo speakers to play a Halloween sounds album outside. But the main attraction was The Witch.
My Mom would put on a giant caftan, tease her hair to high heaven and dust it with powder, paint her face green and make a wart on the end of her nose. She would sit on our porch with a large cardboard box that had been painted black in front of her. As kids warily approached our potentially deadly if inhaled spiderweb coated front porch, moans, groans, and shrieks issued forth from the speakers as if our house was literally, not figuratively as my mother liked to say, an insane asylum. And there was my mother, tucked deep in the shadowy corner, cackling like the Wicked Witch of the East. If kids still had the courage to keep coming, they would be treated to “the witch” testing their little arms for meatiness like poor Hansel & Gretel or stories of goblins and ghouls. And then she would knock on the box in front of her. BAM! Up through a trap door hidden by black paint and darkness popped a big bright green hand full of candy. My Dad would lie for hours each Halloween, his bottom half hidden under my mother’s giant skirts, his painted hand and forearm at the ready for her knock, the number of raps a signal for how many kids were on the porch. My parents didn’t scrimp on the candy and wanted to be sure every little goblin got their fair share after enduring the Mad Hattery of our porch. I still wonder how many kids peed their pants running down our sidewalk.
I don’t have any pictures of Halloween from my childhood. I suppose my parents were too busy dressing us and themselves to worry about pictures. But in my mind I can picture it, right down to the cover of the Spooky Halloween Sounds album. I found something very close to it on CD a couple of years ago at Party City. Yes, I bought it. Yes, I play it. And yes, I’ve tried to make kids pee their pants on my sidewalk. A lesson to parents that yes, our children do learn by example.
Happy Halloween Y’all!
This post is the second in a weeklong BLOGtober Fest for Arkansas Women Bloggers. Go check out all the blog goodness my sisters have come up with too.